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Additional funds approved for Doolittle Hill Road work

County changes mass notification systems
Additional funds approved for Doolittle Hill Road work Additional funds approved for Doolittle Hill Road work

The additional funding needed to begin the repairs to Doolittle Hill Road is in place.

The southern Harrison County road has been closed for more than a year after a slide made the road dangerous to motorists. However, the project to fix the road and eliminate the risk of a slide happening again has been in limbo for weeks.

“We’d like to get this behind us and get moving,” Commissioner Jim Heitkemper to the county council at its last regular meeting.

According to the parties behind the project, there have been unforeseen conditions that couldn’t be predicted and the cost will be more than the lowest bidder submitted.

“Quite frankly, unless the geotech had a boring rig on a helicopter, there was no way he could’ve really got to the exact spots he needed,” said Temple & Temple owner, Ken Temple, whose business provided the lowest bid to do the work.

Temple said it is really no one’s fault, but it will run up the cost.

The council unanimously approved an additional $136,000 for Temple & Temple to start. All seven councilors also approved up to $30,000 for USI Consultants to supervise the site.

Temple joined an owner from USI Consultants to address the council during its meeting on Monday, Aug. 24, when the council approved the funding.

Councilman Kyle Nix thanked Temple for not giving up on the project, noting he had the chance to walk away. Temple said he didn’t want to walk away from a long-time customer.

“Harrison County has been good to me for the last 40 years,” Temple said.

The Salem company is also assigned to the Lanesville connector-road project, now known as Peter J. Schickel Way.

“If I pass up on the very difficult jobs, why would you give me the easy ones,” he said.

An owner with USI said he was going to spend more than the county was paying them to make sure the job was done correctly.

“I’m not going to ask for that money because we stand behind our work,” said USI co-owner Michael Obergfell.

The council had asked if the additional costs, which nows total more than $529,000, would require the county to send the project out for a new bid since it now totals more than the second-lowest bidder, Fulkerson, which submitted a bid of $602,008.50. The bids were opened at a commissioners’ meeting in early March.

Mel Quick-Miller, the assistant superintendent at the Harrison County Highway Dept., said the county was protected.

“This is something that we have all agreed upon that this was not reasonably foreseeable,” Quick-Miller said.

The county has said the work will take approximately 90 days once construction begins.

Also at the meeting, the council approved the funding for the county to switch to a different mass notification system, instead of renewing services with Everbridge. The county will now use Code Red, a product by Onsolved, which is now in place. According to Onsolved’s website, it sends more than two billion notifications annually, has helped find more than 3,500 missing people and has worked with half of the Fortune 500 companies.

The change took place right before the county’s contract with Everbridge expired.

Greg Reas, director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency, said Everbridge notified him it was going to start charging per message.

Using Code Red will save the county 15%, with an annual cost of $10,200, and won’t change for five years, he said.

Reas said residents who were on the Everbridge notification system will transfer to the new system. County residents who want to sign up for alerts should text TEXTEMA to 99411 from their mobile phone. The resident will receive a text message notifying them with how to sign up for alerts.

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners had a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 27, to sign the contract.

The commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. (changed from the first Monday due to Labor Day) at the government center in Corydon.

The council is scheduled to meet in regular session on Monday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the government center.